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5 Problems Even Middle Income Millennials Are Facing

5 Problems Even Middle Income Millennials Are Facing

Who is the millennial? The world knows the millennials as being those young kids aged 20-30, who are now in college or trying to build their post-college lives. And the major feature that defines millennials is the fact they are broke! Like really broke, because they are drowning in student debt and unemployment.

However, there are a bunch of lucky millennials who did manage to stay on top of their finances and are now proud to be cast as middle income persons. They are the people the rest of the millennials are looking at with envy on social media, thinking how lucky they are. But are they really lucky?

1. Healthcare is still a major luxury

The Affordable Care Act was created to make healthcare affordable for everyone, but it ended up to be a huge fail. For millennials who earn more than the typical broke millennial, healthcare is one of the biggest luxuries out there.

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When you have a middle class income you don’t qualify for government subsidies, but you can’t afford to pay for healthcare either. This comes with a lot of other big problems, so there is no wonder many middle income millennials choose to pay the annual fine and take up the risk of not having any healthcare plan.

2. Kids? You can’t afford them!

When you are stuck between living an eternal financial adolescence and earning enough to afford your own place, kids are a delicate subject. The first requirement for having kids is to have a family, then, to afford the child.

Though only a few people would actually acknowledge it, a newborn costs pretty much, with the expenses growing as the child grows. Add the costs of the pregnancy and delivery, as well as general healthcare for the mother and the baby – and take a look at the previous point when it comes to healthcare – and then consider the unpaid maternity leave.

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All these requirements can’t be met, not even by middle-income millennials. As a result, they are the generation whose choice of having kids is not theirs to take.

3. Owning your own place is (still) impossible

If you do have a job and an income, one would believe you can buy your own house. Well, bad news: middle-income is not enough to buy a house. Or rent one, for a matter of fact.

The reality is that cities with a low cost of living are overwhelmed by people, which increases the cost of living. Moreover, where the good jobs are is where the highest rents can be found.

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Another problem which makes moving out from parents impossible is the way real estate developers are working. They are usually building low income houses in places where there are very low paying jobs or building luxury homes with million dollars price tags. There is no middle ground for your middle income, so you are left with no choices.

4. College can’t be avoided

There were times when students were leaving college with a degree in their hand and endless career opportunities. But those are long gone. Nowadays, college is just a formality. Having a degree means nothing, but not having it is even worse, because you won’t be able to apply for a decent job without it.

If our parents were able to pay their college tuition by working a summer job, now we have to pay the huge student debt from what we earn. This significantly diminishes a middle-income, impairing the person and preventing him or her from establishing a family and moving on.

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5. Retirement is a distant dream

The 9 to 5 job is now more of a 24/7 job, with small pauses, but the real problem seems to be the lack of retirement time. Regardless how much you earn, you will have to work an entire week well into your 60s, in order to pay for your debts, rent and make a living. Depending on what happens in your life, you might find yourself working after the retirement age.

With all these problems, there is no wonder most millennials choose to have a pet over a kid and still live with their parents instead of renting a cosmopolitan loft.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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